ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY LECTURE SERIES 2011-2012
The Haunted Last Days of Old China Lecture by Paul French author of Midnight in Peking
‘The Haunted Last Days of Old China’ will take us back to Peking in 1937 when Japanese troops, having already moved into Manchuria, were poised to move on Peking. In the city two groups of foreigners were brought into collision as they waited nervously for the axe to fall; the upright residents of the foreign legations and the foreigners who lived just under the radar in the city’s infamous ‘Badlands’.
Through the years of research for his latest book, Midnight in Peking, Paul French discovered that those two Worlds of Peking were not as separate or as different as people might have liked to think. His lecture will reveal a city full of intrigue, a city where the authorities were more interested in saving face than solving crimes, a city on the brink of invasion, and in doing will bring the last days of old Peking to life. French will also talk about the difficulties and complexities of recovering the stories and narratives of the foreign underworld and criminal classes in Peking and China’s treaty ports as well as the largely overlooked role of the foreign police and diplomatic presence in attempting to monitor and control their more criminally minded nationals in China. He will go on to examine the relationships between Chinese and foreigners both within law enforcement, the judiciary, the nightlife and entertainment economy and illegal activities during the late 1930s and the early years of the Japanese occupation of Peking.
Friday 6th July 2012 at 6.30pm
Followed by a Q & A and a drinks reception
Admission free, all welcome Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD
Tube: Euston, Euston Square, Warren Street